Foreign Affairs

I am a full member of the European Parliament's prestigious Committee for Foreign Affairs, which sees me working on wide-reaching issues between EU and non-EU countries. I am also a full member of both the Delegation for relations with the Arab Peninsula, and the Delegation for relations with Iraq - an ideal role for the Glasgow boy who grew up in Saudi Arabia.

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Alyn Smith MEP, Scottish member of the European Parliament’s Foreign Affairs Committee, has led a key report on Hong Kong twenty years after the UK’s handover to China, which was adopted by the European Parliament in Strasbourg today with an overwhelming majority of 490 out of 589.

 


The European Parliament met yesterday (Tuesday) to debate the state of play of the Brexit negotiations.

During a fruitful discussion in the chamber, SNP MEP Alyn Smith praised the unity of purpose while condemning the UK’s actions thus far as “not good enough”.


THERESA May’s official visit to Canada this Monday was a fiasco. Hastily organised on the premise of the UN summit in New York, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau was polite enough to host his UK counterpart, yet no agreement on trade was reached. 

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First published in The National, 20 September 2017


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In a sad week, the outrage which took place in Manchester is almost beyond comprehension.  It goes without saying that our thoughts have been with the victims, their families and friends, and the emergency services.  Across the EU flags were lowered and people gathered to pay their respects and emphasise their solidarity:

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Alyn Smith, SNP Member of the European Parliament, has today repeated the call for the EU to respect the wishes of the Scottish public to remain within "our European family" and to act now to protect the rights of citizens.


The Scottish National Party (SNP) Member of the European Parliament Alyn Smith MEP has delivered a speech yesterday evening in the European Parliament, in Strasbourg, France, over the alarming situation of LGBTi rights and the EU guidelines to protect and uphold them, particularly in the aftermath of the revelations of LGBTi “purges” in Chechnya, Russia. The debate took place on the occasion of the international day against homophobia, transphobia and biphobia.


LIKE many, I was delighted by the result in the local elections seeing so many hard-working folk elected to positions of real responsibility in the service of their communities. It was great to see. But there was also the result over the weekend from France, where Centrist Emmanuel Macron won a decisive victory over the Front National’s Marine Le Pen in the French Presidential election, 66 per cent to 34 per cent. Good news for Europe, bad news for the fascists, even if the fact they were in the second round at all should give us pause. But a win is a win is a win, and after the seemingly endless gut punch that was 2016, we can be forgiven for focusing on a bit of cheery news for a change.

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First published in The National, 10 May 2017


Theresa May has not listened, her government has refused to countenance compromise and now we face the cold reality of the UK constitution.


LAST week was a rough one, I don’t mind admitting. Having to watch the House of Commons debate how, when and if the UK Government should begin the withdrawal process from the EU was horrible.

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First published in The National, 16 February 2017


This week, by a majority of 8:3, the Supreme Court found that the UK Government cannot trigger Article 50 without an Act of the UK Parliament. However, it was not all good news since although the UK Government lost the case the Court also concluded that they do not need to consult the devolved legislators such as the Scottish Parliament.

This is the cold reality of the UK constitution where power devolved is power retained. It also graphically illustrates that the so called "partnership of equals” described in 2014 is just political fluff. The full judgment of the court is available from here:

In response to this the UK Government has put forward a Bill to allow them to initiate article 50. 

It is pitifully short and vague. In my opinion it isn't a Bill, it is a blank cheque to the Tories. 

Reaching out to our European friends and explaining our proposition to keep Scotland in the Single Market is crucial. As part of this I delivered a lecture to the College of Europe in Warsaw. I lived in Poland in the nineties, when it was not a member of the European Union, and I know what Europe means to Poland. These were fascinating times and, in the same spirit, I want Scotland to remain in our family of European nations because we are better off.